Growing up with a developmental disorder can be very difficult. Due to embarrassment—sometimes even bullying—and a lack of understanding in most public school systems about learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), many children with these conditions struggle to fit in and advance with their peers. However, with an appropriate diagnosis and proper adaptations for their particular learning style, it is more than possible for these children to flourish and even thrive in an academic setting.
Adhara Pérez Sánchez was diagnosed with Asperger’s—an ASD—at the early age of 3. And, due to the difficulties the condition can cause with social interactions, Pérez Sanchez struggled in school and was bullied by many of her peers, who sometimes called her “weirdo” and “oddball.” Some of her teachers even reported that she would sleep through class and displayed a lack of interest in the material. However, her mother, Nallely Sánchez recognized that this behavior was not typical for her daughter—who often passed the time studying the periodic table—and sought further help.
It was at this point they discovered Adhara’s condition, but they were also met with another surprise. With an impressive IQ of 162, the young girl’s intellectual aptitude was far more advanced than they had even imagined. In fact, her exceptionally high score is even more elevated than that of revered geniuses like Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein—both of which had an estimated IQ of 160.
This opened up a new chapter for Pérez, who was then able to learn in an environment that suited her needs. Thanks to that change, she was able to finish elementary school by the age of 5, middle school by age 6, and even graduate high school by the age of 8. The child genius is now attending university in Mexico, where she is currently pursuing two engineering degrees, and even has aspirations to become an astronaut and travel to Mars. In fact, she has even represented her school, Universidad CNCI, by giving a keynote presentation on black holes at an event organized by the Institute of Art and Culture in Tijuana.
Before reaching Mars, the next step for Adhara Pérez might just be the University of Arizona—her dream school, which has been recognized by NASA for its space exploration program. She was invited to study there personally by the University’s president, Robert C. Robbins, who sent her a letter with the news. “I was thrilled to read about your incredible story online and to find out that your dream school is the University of Arizona,” Robbins said in his letter. “We have many outstanding space sciences programs, you would have many opportunities to work side by side with the world’s leading experts… You have a bright future ahead of you, and I hope to welcome you on campus one day as a Wildcat.”
Before even turning 10, Pérez has accomplished more than what some people do in an entire lifetime. While she reaches for the stars, the intelligent young girl also uses her platform to help other children on the autism spectrum and inspire them to follow their dreams. “Do not give up, and if you don’t like where you are, start planning where you want to be,” encourages the young genius.
Adhara Pérez Sánchez—a 9-year-old child genius with Asperger’s—has a higher IQ than Einstein and dreams of becoming an astronaut.